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Morning Headlines: June 6, 2013

By WVUM News Staff | June 6th, 2013 |

Here are some of the headlines we’re following today:

A senior Obama administration official is acknowledging the collection of information on Verizon calls by the National Security Agency.   The admission comes after the British newspaper the “Guardian” reported the NSA has been gathering data including numbers called, call duration and location.  .  The administration is defending the move  saying it’s a critical tool in protecting the U.S. from terrorist threats.

Rescue crews have found another survivor of a Philadelphia building collapse.  A 50-year-old woman was pulled from the rubble last night.  At least six people were killed when a four-story building under demolition fell on a neighboring thrift store.

Tropical Storm Andrea is on track to menace Florida.  As it nears, the potential increases for tornadoes across the central and southern areas of the state this morning.  Andrea’s maximum sustained winds are 60 miles an hour.  It’s about 140 miles south of Apalachicola [[ ap-uh-latch-eh-KOH-luh ]].  Tropical storm warnings are in effect for areas of the west coast of Florida.  Andrea could dump as much as three to six inches of rain over much of the Florida peninsula and eastern sections of the panhandle.

Locally in South Florida, there some reports of tornadoes touching down very early in the morning.  Expect Showers and thundershowers today. High near 85F. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

 

Editor’s Note:

Headlines collected via WVUM subscription to Metrosource news wire. Edited for flow, brevity (radio).

“*”- Denotes original reporting/content.

Sometimes Leaks Shouldn’t Be Fixed

By Mike Kanoff | Counterpoint | June 6th, 2013 |

On June 3rd, the trial of Bradley Manning finally began, just a touch over three years since his arrest. He is charged with leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, and in turn to enemies of the U.S., via the nature of the Internet’s global availability. Among the leaked information, was the “Collateral Murder” footage of a U.S. helicopter gunning down four journalists and two kids, and reports confirming the Granai Airstrike, which killed anywhere between 86 and 147 civilians, most of which were apparently women and children, and a good number of diplomatic cables containing information that embarrassed the U.S. government.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the recent crackdown on whistle-blowers in general, not just Manning. While I have said before that I am a staunch defender of personal privacy, I’ll admit to having lopsided standards when comparing personal privacy to governmental privacy. I believe that Manning should be applauded for showing something that, quite frankly, needed to be exposed: I believe that the American people have a right to know who we have killed half way across the world while fighting a war against an abstract concept (terrorism), and furthermore, I believe that even if these incidents were accidental, that they shouldn’t just be swept under the rug and classified because they might embarrass a few officials. We’re not all babies, I don’t think anyone who knows we’re at war expects us to not have at least some civilian casualties, and I think that the American people can certainly “handle the truth,” even if it is unpleasant.

But moving away from Manning specifically, there seems to be a recent shift towards this head-in-the-sand idea: that dissenting or even leaking is not okay. From the Obama administration’s six uses of the Espionage Act– more than all other presidents combined– to the Patriot Act, to even the recent DOJ scandal(s). What I am gathering from these, among others, is that it’s no longer completely okay to speak out, or else a whistle-blower, or even just a dutiful reporter, risks getting caught up in the vortex, as we’ve seen with the AP scandal recently. Add in just the chilling effects alone from the Patriot Act and it looks to me like we’re nibbling away at the first amendment. To the argument that this is just all in the name of counter-terrorism and that we should have more faith in the government, I counter with “once you give it up, you aren’t getting it back”; the Espionage Act has been around since 1917, almost 100 years ago, and the Patriot Act just got extended in 2011 to last four more years, but I will concede that this government-press scandal will probably blow over, though I’m not so sure leakers will bother coming to the press for quite some time.